Friday, May 16, 2008

A Short Story.

The Exponential Wish Granting Ring

“One ring for the absolute luckiest one, once worn shall it not be taken off” – Ancient wisdom.

Her father would often lament, “Those days are gone. Back then values counted more than wealth, nature was a constant companion and the human touch was visible everywhere”. She didn’t know what was so great about all those good old days that her father, a government servant kept talking of. Their culture was different, our culture emphasizes the frugality of everything – non-possession, renunciation, poverty and charity as the true virtues, was a constant lesson she had grown up to. However, as if just the opposite she’d picked up an almost constant whim of wanting to possess – just as her well off friends did. Possess this and that, a new toy when a child, a new shoe, that gorgeous handbag when she grew older and now newer toys like the brand new gadget and then that lavish new car. Not that she was always denied, once in a while she’d get what she wanted and now she had started earning after getting a job, and the future would only get rosier. Most recent economic surveys talked of a rising middle class in India that had the ability to possess, to make things happen – truly achieve, bend rules or flatter – by hook or by crook, to get ahead was everything, Everything!

She was new to this city, away from her parents on account of the job and living alone in a rented space. One night as she sat on a chair in the balcony staring at the distant constellations, identifying a couple of them she heard a sound, a sharp clink. Looking around she found something glowing on the floor, beside her bare feet. She bent forward and picked up a ring, exquisitely inset was a precious stone like she had never seen before and strangely it changed colours, just like the stars. Gingerly she wore the ring and as soon as she had done so, she felt intense pleasure. Very upbeat, she suddenly wished she had a boxful of jewelry like what her friend had worn on her marriage, and lo - there in front of her on the table appeared a box, overflowing with jewelry. Then she wished for an iPod and then a laptop, and then another thing, then another and then something else and all these were granted to her. She felt great joy at being the possessor of this luck-enhancing wish ring, capable of swift material grants. She had to just wish and she’s have it – no material possession was out of reach now. She wished for a car and it came in the form of a lucky draw and others came by other means. Soon her room was too small for all that she possessed and she feared that her possessions would be stolen, so she started hiding some, keeping them away from her and some she started giving away to friends and others as welcome gifts.

By the end of the first month, if she wished for one thing she’d get two of the same; by the end of the second month she’d get four. Then this number kept exponentially going up. By the end of the year she was so suffocated, completely overwhelmed with the volume of her material possessions that she started fearing even wishing about possessing – sometimes getting nightmares and finally made up her mind on throwing away the ring. But once worn the ring could not be taken off – it had melded with the bones of her finger. A manic paranoia set in, along with an aversion for all possessions and she had to get her finger operated upon to get the ring off. As if preprogrammed, the ring disappeared as soon as it was removed from her finger.

By the way would you want to wear that ring?


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